MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Former Mountaineer football players Don Barclay and Keith Tandy had All-American playing careers while at West Virginia, leading their alma mater to many victories on the field, conference championships and bowl wins before finishing their college careers.
Currently, they are building successful NFL careers since entering the league in 2012. Barclay, who signed a free agent contract with the Green Bay Packers, and Tandy, who was drafted in the sixth round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have seen a lot of action and made a lot of plays for their respective teams.
However, in spite of all of their past and present success, they have never forgotten their roots.
This past fall, they showed their love and appreciation for West Virginia University by making a generous gift to the Mountaineer Strength and Conditioning Program to help future generations of Mountaineers reap the benefits of their success.
Barclay and Tandy were training in the weight room during the offseason and conferred with WVU director of strength and conditioning Mike Joseph about doing their part for the football program by giving toward weight room improvements.
“Don Barclay and Keith Tandy were great role models when they were here, on and off the field, and their influence as Mountaineers on the program still continues,” WVU football coach Dana Holgorsen said. “We are appreciative of those guys and all of our former players who continue to take an active leadership role and share their vision and resources with their school and the football program. They are making a difference in the lives of current and future Mountaineers.”
The weight room is an important area in the development of a college football player. It is a place where the players spend a lot of time, especially during the offseason and summer months.
Barclay and Tandy’s gift will enable Joseph to bring the concept of cryotherapy to the football program with the purchase of a cryo chamber to aid in the recovery process for student-athletes.
“When an athlete wants to gives back to their University and the football program, these guys realize that strength and conditioning, the weight room and their training are one area that helped them get to where they are today,” Joseph said. “If the former athletes can help the younger guys coming through, help keep the program at a higher level, keep it at a championship competition level - that is what we strive for as a program. Anything we can add to keep us at the highest competition level, that is our goal.”
Cryotherapy is a cold therapy procedure, where users stand for a few minutes in a nitrogen-gas filled chamber with temperatures dropping to between -90 degrees C to -120 degrees C. This modern-day technology provides benefits with athletic recovery and promotes individual wellness. As temperatures rapidly drop, oxygen is pushed through the body to help reduce inflammation, give pain relief and aid in muscle recovery.
“A lot of athletes give great effort toward training while playing football and the biggest thing is getting them recovered from one game to the next or from one workout to the next,” Joseph said. “Especially with all of our travel, all our demands physically throughout the season, having different tools to use is very beneficial to the program.
Cryotherapy has been used worldwide since 1979 to enhance recovery of elite athletes. It is a valuable tool for speeding muscle recovery and giving the body a feeling of overall wellness. Instead of using ice on a certain area, which can take a lot of time and effort to gain the effects of the treatment, athletes can step into the chamber and increase the recovery time. That will allow athletes to have a more defined training regimen.
Barclay and Tandy were key members of a very successful period of Mountaineer football history. West Virginia compiled a 37-15 record and 20-8 mark in the Big East, won two conference titles, made four bowl appearances and winning two of them, including the 70-33 blowout of Clemson in the 2012 Orange Bowl.
“Don and Keith are arguably two of our top guys to ever train here at WVU,” Joseph said. “Those are two great guys who worked hard and paid the price. They still come back and train in the offseason. That’s why their NFL careers have been longer and they have better longevity as an athlete. In terms of leadership and consistency and really caring about the program and the University, those are two of the best guys that have come through here.”
Barclay was a four-year letterwinner (2008-11) and three-year starter (2009-11), tying a school record by playing 52 games at left tackle. One of the team captains as a senior in 2011, he earned All-American honors and was an All-Big East First-Team selection. He was a key member of the offense in 2011 that finished with 6,104 yards of total offense, scored 37.6 points a game and passed for 4,509 yards.
“My experience at WVU was something I will never forget,” Barclay said. “From winning bowl games (two BCS bowl games) to making friendships with players and coaches that will last a lifetime, to meeting my wife, these things made my experience unforgettable. Some of my most memorable moments were spent with my teammates, strength coaches and coaches, which helped me to where I am today. It made me the man I am today.”
Tandy was a three-year starter (2009-11) at cornerback and played in 45 career games and started 40. He earned All-American honors and was a two-time All-Big East First-Team performer. He finished with 13 career interceptions, 24 pass breakups and 188 tackles. He was a valuable component of the 2011 WVU defense that ranked No. 11 nationally in pass efficiency defense, tied for No. 31 in interceptions, No. 33 in first down defense, third-down defense and total defense. As a junior, Tandy tied for No. 5 nationally in passes defended and tied for No. 10 in interceptions. As a senior, he tied for No. 38 in interceptions.
“The University did so much for me,” Tandy said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the school and these coaches. Playing in the Orange Bowl my last year was my best memory. I remember getting an interception on a play I knew was coming my way. It was a great feeling. All of the guys were piling up on each other and celebrating. The camaraderie in the locker room was unbelievable. That is what you miss when it is gone.”
Barclay and Tandy felt humbled by the help and support they received from the University and staff members and are hopeful that other former Mountaineers will do the same and want to give back to the program with their time and donations.
“I hope that this would encourage more players to do the same,” Barclay said. “Players know we have to stay up-to-date and improve our facilities to compete with other schools. I know players now removed from the program have so much pride for WVU and want to see it win and succeed. I felt like this was my way of saying thank you to WVU and the previous players that were there before me to make my experience a great one.”
Tandy also echoed Barclay’s sentiments, “Don’t forget where you came from. We wouldn’t be where we are if it weren’t for the school and the coaches. Everyone’s situation is different. Some can give more than others. Give your time or if you can help with your money, help out where you can.”